Posted: 24 Oct 2015 12:34 AM PDT
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – Oct. 24, 2015 – Jimmy Phelps, coming off a 358 Modified victory in the Salute to the Troops 150 during NAPA Super DIRT Week at the Syracuse Fairgrounds, was back for more Friday at Weedsport Speedway's 'Last Call at the Port' Bud Light 125.
Phelps prevailed in a stop-and-start grueling affair that lasted over and hour and required 16 cautions and a red flag. Along the way, he turned many a contested lap racing with Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Pat Ward and 358-Modified Series title contender Chris Raabe.
He took the lead for the first time on lap 78 after going wheel-to-wheel with Wight and Sheppard only to have the pass nullified by the tenth caution of the night.
Phelps finally eluded Sheppard with four laps remaining while Wight faded slightly and was pressured by Mat Williamson. Farther back, Bernard was content to hold his ground and settle for eighth, sufficient to secure the 358 Modified Series championship.
When Sheppard weighed in too light during post-race inspection, Wight became the official runner-up with Williamson (from 30th on the grid) third, Ryan Susice fourth and Danny Johnson fifth.
Raabe, the series point leader at the start of the race and David Hebert – two points back and seven ahead of Bernard, were both slowed with tire and wheel problems by the halfway point.
Bernard rose as high as sixth, but he got more conservative once his closest rivals fell out of contention.
"The track was pretty rough," Bernard said. "When you have a chance to win a championship in a series that has been going on all season, you don't want to lose control. I decided to make sure I could finish the race."
Bernard thanked his father, sponsor and crew chief Robert and sponsors Yokohama, NAPA Auto Parts, Toyo Tires and Federated.
"The 2015 Autodrome Drummond track champion also thanked the fans at Weedsport and beyond. "I have a lot of fans that come by the trailer each week and it means a lot," he said.
Day number two of Weedsport's three-day Last Call at the Port event gets underway Saturday at 6 p.m. headlined by the Super DIRTcar Series $20,000-to-win All Ways 150 for Big-Block Modifieds.
DIRTcar NE 358 Modified Series Bud Light 125; Oct. 23, 2015
A-Main (125 Laps): start in (*)
Qualifying Heats (8 laps, top 5 transfer, top 3 redraw)
Heat 1: Ward, Terrance, J Phelps, Bernard, Sheppard, Morin, Joy, Shields
Heat 2: Bussiere, D Johnson, Vitale, Rudolph, Bartlett, Maresca, Willix, Williamson
Heat 3: Wight, Decker, Chrysler, Clair, Hebert, McCreadie, Sweeting, Murphy
Heat 4: Wills, Raabe, O'Brien, Kislowski, Susice, Bresnahan, Smith